Entrepreneurship for Peace
Sheena Lin | Aug 8, 2017
Topic category: Entrepreneurs for Peace

The natural effect of commerce is to bring peace. Two nations that negotiate between themselves become reciprocally dependent, if one has an interest in buying and the other in selling. And all unions are based on mutual needs,” wrote Montesqieu in The Spirit of the Laws.

Indeed, the notion that trade can build mutually beneficial relationships has been further developed by many economists. Conflicts often arise because of the many development challenges facing the world. Shared and inclusive growth eludes many countries, and large numbers of people remain disenfranchised, unable to participate or benefit from mainstream economic activity. Poverty and inequality – both between and within nations – persist. A key reason for this continues to be the challenge in many developing countries to diversify their economies and effectively leverage growth to reduce poverty and create jobs.

Entrepreneurship, targeted at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), has been identified as an effective means to address some of these fundamental developmental challenges. This is in large part because of the powerful contribution MSMEs can make to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. How can entrepreneurship be leveraged as a resource for peaceful development? How can peacebuilding approaches strengthen private sector investment in fragile states? How can entrepreneurship and peacebuilding mutually reinforce the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

During Global Entrepreneurship Week and Geneva Peace Week, which will take place in Geneva from Nov. 16 - 20, the UNCTAD and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform will try to answer these questions. Also supported by the United States Mission to the United Nations, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform joined forces with Global Entrepreneurship Week to organize a symposium on "Entrepreneurship for Peace.”

The objective of the symposium is to illustrate how entrepreneurship brings hope to young generations and also contributes to rebuilding peace and prosperity in poor and post-conflict states. There will be direct testimonials of young entrepreneurs and researchers from Colombia, Liberia, Jordan and Uganda. They will highlight how businesses played a key role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in spurring stagnant economic growth. . The Young African Leaders Initiative, an organization promoted by President Barack Obama, and the Empretec network, established by UNCTAD in 37 countries around the world, have joined forces to mobilize young people for this occasion.

Some of the event panelists include:

1. Patrice Juah, from Liberia, is a poet, media professional, activist, entrepreneur and former Miss Liberia dedicated to changing Liberia’s image within the international community. She strives to motivate and empower young women by supporting several local non-profit organizations’ efforts in educating women on topics such as HIV/AIDs, teen pregnancy, education and workforce development. She is also the owner and creative director of Moie, a fashion, textiles and accessories business based in Monrovia.

2. Riad al Khouri from Jordan is an economist specializing in the Middle East and North Africa region. He has undertaken extensive research on regional trade and political economy, among other topics, and writes widely about development issues in the region.

3. Thomas Oloya from Uganda is the founder of Island Oasis - an aquaculture business. His business has created employment for 14 people, including male and female youth. It sources local fish contributed to the conservation of the environment through tree planting and it has enabled water conservation which the National Environmental Management Authority advocates for. Oloya expanded his business through diversification and ventured in breeding, horticulture and construction businesses.

Fiorina Mugione |Nov 3, 2015
Tags: Entrepreneurship, Peace, Middle East, North Africa, NPO, HIV, AIDs, SDG
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